A Nashville couple faces charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect after they were accused of routinely putting their 5-year-old inside an oven as a form of punishment.
Lavelldo Washington, 34, and Corneisha Wilkerson, 23, were jailed on $50,000 bond each after a grand jury indictment this week.
"He should be locked up and don't get no bond, no nothing," said neighbor Shermaine Poole.
Police began investigating last year when the couple's 2-month-old child was treated at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for a broken leg.
The parents told hospital staff the child woke up one morning screaming, and they said they thought she had been bitten by an insect, according to police.
Bruises were also found on both the child's legs, and police said the couple then refused other interviews with hospital staff.
Authorities later discovered that Washington would allegedly discipline the couple's 5-year-old by placing the child in a non-activated oven.
"Certainly, I'm not an expert on child discipline, but most of the time, appropriate forms are discipline are those things that most folks would know," said Metro police Cpt. Gordon Howey. "What if the child had been in the oven and somehow it had turned on?"
Neighbors at the family's apartment complex say they know them well. Washington has at least 29 arrests on his record and is a registered sex offender.
As bad as it might seem for him, the family's neighbor considers it just as bad for Wilkerson who, police say, knew what happened and did not stop it.
"I don't know. It's just heartbreaking, really," Poole said. "She knew it was going on, and her kids are endangered by that. Like, they could really just really be more than hurt. They could be dead. No - it's her fault, too. She should be locked up."
The couple has three children, and each remains in state custody as the investigation continues.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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